A new survey from Common Sense Media has some pretty startling statistics. And this time, they’re not about teens hooked on Snapchat or kids binging on video games. Nope. This time the focus is on mom and dad. And the results aren’t pretty.
It turns out despite the fact that there is no shortage of parental handwringing about how much time kids spend on their mobile devices, mom and dad are in fact some of the worst offenders. A survey released last week reveals that while parents average more than nine hours of screen time per day, they nevertheless consider themselves to be good screen role models. Busy catching up on work? Not so much. On average, the parents surveyed spent more than 7 hours on personal — as in non-work related — screen time.
“These findings are fascinating because parents are using media for entertainment just as much as their kids, yet they express concerns about their kids’ media use while also believing that they are good role models for their kids,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense.
Minding Social Media Over Your Kids
Yet despite the fact that mom and dad may think they’re getting high-marks for role model screen-time behavior, their kids clearly don’t agree. In a study released earlier this year, 54% of all kids surveyed admitted they felt their parents were too absorbed by their smartphones. Worse still? More than a third of those kids said their parents’ preference for screens over direct interaction with them left them feeling “unimportant.” Another study, which looked into the impact of distracted parenting on kids in restaurants, suggested that the more absorbed a caregiver was in their device, the more their kids misbehaved and the harsher the punishments were.
So what happens when mom and dad truly restrain themselves and check in less often? The evidence suggests that it makes for happier, less stressful people. In one study, researchers let 124 adults check their emails as many times as they wanted per day for one week. The following week, they were restricted to only checking emails three times a day. The results? The fewer the checkins, the lower the stress and the higher the sense of well-being.